The waterproof breathable membrane war that began last year is finally coming to a head with apparel hitting the market for this fall and upcoming winter season. Three of the highly anticipated new technologies are Polartec NeoShell, Gore-Tex Active Shell, and Dry.Q from Mountain Hardwear. Looking first at NeoShell, below you will find a list of jackets featuring this waterproof and air permeable membrane, enabling you to test out the technology for yourself on the trails, slopes, or vertical ice this season.
The Polartec NeoShell membrane is very flexible in that it can be sandwiched between different face and back fabrics to build unique pieces with varying performance characteristics, from lightweight hardshells to thermal softshells.
Update For Spring ’15
Sugoi RSE Jacket ($280): Polartec Neoshell main body construction with fully taped seams keeps you dry when riding in heavy rain. The offset front zipper provides improved fit and comfort at the neck opening. Rear zippered hand pockets stow ride essentials, while reflective accents offer low light and night time visibility.
Sugoi RSX Jacket ($300): Polartec Neoshell main body construction with fully taped seams keeps you dry when riding in heavy rain. A drop tail protects your lower back/seat from tire spray. Pack interface pockets are designed to stow ride essentials and not interfere with hip straps from hydration packs. The detachable hood with velcro stows away easily into the zippered rear pocket.
1. The North Face
The Jammu Jacket (pictured above) is a waterproof softshell with brushed fleece liner for extra warmth. A fully adjustable fixed hood adds further weather protection, while the chest pocket and high hand pockets sit out of the way of your hipbelt or harness. MSRP $399
2. 66 North
The waterproof breathable Snaefell Jacket sports an integrated dual adjustable swivel hood with visor. Features include a two way front zipper, venting front pockets, and a card pocket towards the front of the left sleeve. The elongated back helps keep out snow, while pre-shaped elbow articulation aids in movement on the mountain. MSRP €440
The men’s and women’s Zion Jacket is a lightweight, waterproof, highly breathable softshell jacket with lots of stretch. Big-mountain features include a storm hood, water-resistant zippered pockets, and elastic draw cord hem. Angel-Wing Movement gives you full range of motion in the arms without the jacket riding up. MSRP $375
The men’s and women’s Apoc Jacket is an active alpine hardshell with a velour lined high collar and alpine compatible hood. Velcro cuff closures and venting underarm zippers help maximize air circulation when needed. An internal media pocket keeps your electronics secure and dry. MSRP $480
The Switch LT Hoody, made from flyweight ripstop nylon with a Polartec NeoShell membrane, is the lightest (440 grams), most minimalist waterproof jacket for fast and light alpine climbing. MSRP $430
The Chrome is a full stretch insulating jacket with Primaloft. Featuring a stowaway storm hood, the jacket moves with your body, while offering maximum wind and water protection. MSRP $550
Part of Mammut’s Eiger Extreme collection, the Gipfelgrat Jacket is a waterproof softshell meant for year round technical alpine pursuits. Front reach sleeves and extended sleeve hem adjustments ensure the elements stay out of your jacket when climbing. Front access pit zips help you regulate your temperature on the go. MSRP $450
The men’s and women’s Rab Stretch Neo Jacket is a waterproof and highly breathable hardshell designed for mountain use. A simple, uncluttered design (with a helmet compatible and adjustable hood, 2 napoleon pockets with water resistant zips, and 2 internal mesh pockets), means the Stretch Neo Jacket has just the features you need. MSRP $365
Great for alpine and ice climbing, the updated Rab Fusion Jacket uses NeoShell only in the hood, shoulders, arms, and waist area with Rab’s proprietary softshell at the chest and other non-essential waterproof areas. MSRP $265
Finally, the Vaude Alpamayo Jacket is a warm, 3-layer hardshell jacket for all cold weather mountain sports. Features include articulated sleeves, 2 front pockets, sleeve pocket, and an asymmetrical 2-way front zip. The hem, attached hood, and cuffs are all adjustable. MSRP £370, €400, $472